Whenever you play you use your imagination. When you build a tower with blocks, cuddle your soft toys, and paint masterpieces with your fingers you're using your imagination. But there’s something particularly special about pretend play and research shows you will benefit hugely from it, especially between the ages of two and seven. Here are just five reasons to enjoy your pretend play more than you already do!
1) Pretend play is a special place where you can be anyone, go anywhere and do anything! Noone can tell you where to go or what to do when you play pretend; it’s YOUR space where you can be free and let your imagination run wild!
2) When you play pretend, you can also learn how to understand other people's feelings. You can pretend to be someone else and imagine how they might feel in different situations. This helps you be kind and caring towards others. Pretending with your friends can also teach you how to work together and get along.
3) Pretend play can also help you get stronger and more coordinated. When you run like a tiger, jump like a frog, fly like a superhero, and climb like a builder, you're using your body and building your muscles. Even little things like miming writing a shopping list or drinking a cup of imaginary tea can help your hands get better at doing things. It's exercise for your body!
4) When you play pretend, your brain must work in a different way – you have to work out what you want to play, who you want to play with, and what the rules are. You also must figure out what you need to make your game more fun. This helps your brain think and solve problems. It's a skill that you can use for the rest of your life!
5) Pretend play is also a great way to learn new words and how to talk to others. In your pretend games, you can use the words you hear other people say. Even if you don’t always know what the words mean it’s fun to try using them – that’s the way we learn! I bet you can make up all sorts of fun games and use new words like pretending you're at the doctors, flying to the moon on a spaceship, or sailing the Seven Seas with your pirate crew!
So remember, pretend play is not just fun, it's also really good for you. It helps you be creative, understand others, learn new words, think and solve problems, and get stronger. Imagination will take you everywhere!